What is slow marketing and why is it fast becoming such a big deal?

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Playing the long game is a concept that might be unfamiliar to ‘old-school’ marketers that were more bothered about getting results ASAP than building a long-lasting brand. But the consumers of 2022 have longer memories than their forebears. And even if they didn’t, the sheer ubiquity of ‘big data’ means that even if people forget, our computers and smartphones won’t.

In a world that’s moving so fast, sometimes it makes sense to slow down. That, in essence, is where the concept of slow marketing came from. It’s an idea that means allowing yourself to slow down just enough to identify and act on the moments that will help your brand grow without making silly impulsive decisions. It’s far from a new concept (the term has been floating around since at least 2015) but it’s one that makes more sense today than ever before.

Hey man, slow down


Earlier this month, bespoke handwritten note agency Inkpact hosted an event discussing the concept of slow marketing. The panel, which included Kate Bosomworth, the founder of Platform Agency and ex-CMO of M&C Saatchi, spoke to a room full of brands eager to lap up this fresh wisdom. And why wouldn’t they? A free breakfast was included as part of the festivities and who doesn’t relish an opportunity to challenge preconceptions and hear inspiring new ideas whilst chowing down on some free grub?

There was a lot to be discussed and debated, but one thing each panelist agreed on was that brands need to connect more with their customers, as well as with other businesses. Slow marketing is perhaps the most logical way to achieve just that. According to Kate, businesses need to build cross-functional teams. She explains: “This isn not only for better ROI but due to the fact that different departments are often separated, when they need to be more closely connected, especially when it comes to a customer's values.

When the topic of slow marketing was raised, Inkpact’s CEO Charlotte Pearce, the host of the event, said: “Businesses need to think about their customer first. Moving quickly isn’t the answer. You need to build so you can be more thoughtful and care about what you’re doing, driving longer term results.

Jad Rahme, Head of CRM and Loyalty Marketing at British meal kit retailer Mindful Chef, one of here fellow panellists, added that the brand has already made their mistakes when it came to pushing everything out at once. He argued: “Pushing a lot of things out at the same time won’t help you get your primary message across. Slowing down communications is the best way, as the company stops and listens to what their customers are actually asking them.”

Emotional profiling


The panelists were also asked what their values were, with each agreeing that the most important ones to them were: passion, quality, thoughtfulness and transparency. Some of these were new values they and their agencies or brands adopted since the onset of the pandemic, which is a shared trauma that arguably inspired all of us to be a little more in-touch with our emotions.

They also need to be able to tap into the unique emotions of their audience and their sector. Kate said: “Businesses and brands need to think about what emotional category they’re a part of. It’s not just about being a sports brand in a sports category. Is the businesses goal to motivate or to inspire? Acknowledging your emotional category can impact your customer engagement and connect with them on a deeper, emotional level.

Noa Mokhnachi, CRM manager at international beauty retailer L’Occitane, discussed how they are used to having a ‘quick fix’ strategy in order to drive sales. However, due to the pandemic they had to think outside the box, moving away from their typical quick fix tactics. She explained: “We needed to drive long-term sales online, have long-term KPI’s and change their mindset by rewarding customers, without expecting anything in return.” A tactic that might go against conventional wisdom but makes a lot of sense in a post-pandemic world.

What have we learned?


Overall, the event not only managed to underline the benefits of slow marketing but also to shine a light on many associated recent consumer trends. Noa, for example, referenced how the online and offline worlds appear to have blurred together in the last 24 months. As a result, brands “need to measure success within physical stores rather than just online in terms of connecting with your customers if they want a loyal customer base.

Brands and businesses need to stop thinking and talking about authenticity and be more empathetic. They also need to invest more in the right customers that they want for their brand. This can be done with polite and friendly staff being more welcoming and building a relationship with regular customers who want to represent their brands.”

The overall takeaway is that businesses and brands need to be putting customers at the heart of everything they do. Listen to your customer, don’t be afraid to change your strategy depending on the different type of customer you’re trying to appeal to and once you’ve struck up a relationship with them, nurture it. But don’t rush it!


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